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Police Capture Suspected Child Torturers On The Run Since 2009

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Mississippi couple at the center of a manhunt that began in 2009 have been caught in Oregon.

A Mississippi couple at the center of a manhunt that began in 2009 have been caught in Oregon.

Ramon and Janet Barreto were apprehended in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday. The couple was on the U.S. Marshals Service's list of top 15 most wanted fugitives. They are being held in an Oregon jail.

The Barretos are accused of illegally adopting children from Guatemala and torturing them. They were arrested in 2008 after a 2-year-old girl they adopted died.


After the 2-year-old was killed, eight other adopted children were found living in the roach and feces infested home. Federal agents say the children were duct taped to their beds, punched in the stomach, and their heads were forced underwater.

“Janet Barreto is a malicious individual who allegedly abused innocent children on multiple occasions and forced them to live in appalling conditions,” William D. Snelson, U.S. Marshals Service Assistant Director for Investigative Operations, said in a 2013 statement. “Through her alleged crimes, Barreto demonstrated a blatant disregard and lack of respect for life other than her own. Adopting children and bringing them to the United States only to abuse and neglect them is a horrific crime."

Following their 2008 arrest, the couple fled after being released on $450,000 bond. Investigators began pursuing them in 2009.
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Steubenville sexual assault case gets international attention after video goes viral

Sunday, January 6, 2013

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- The story of a reported rape in the small Ohio Valley town of Steubenville that started last summer with the vulgar Tweets of a few teenaged athletes has gone viral around the world.

A recently released video of a teen joking about the attack has added fuel to the story that was first reported by The Plain Dealer in September. A photo of the girl being dragged has also rapidly spread over the Internet.

National media reports and a steady drumbeat of attention by bloggers and recently the hacker activist group, Anonymous, has kept the case in the spotlight, with some claiming that the community is protecting its high school football players at the expense of justice for the girl.

Two 16-year-old “Big Red” football players are charged with raping a West Virginia girl and one of the teens is charged with photographing her nude. They are set to be tried in Juvenile Court in February.

Attorneys for the two football players have said the level of attention is jeopardizing their right to a fair trial and that some of the evidence, such as the photos, have been taken out of context.

Debate about the reported attack divided the football-fueled town of 18,000 between those who supported the athletes and those who were appalled at the treatment of a young woman.

In recent weeks, Internet sleuths such as the Anonymous group, are questioning whether there was an attempted cover-up by politically-connected public officials and football boosters in the case, and whether the police and state investigators have the adequate skills and motivation to unearth digital evidence to charge everyone involved.

As a part of the crusade, they have hacked into the independently run student athletics site rollredroll.com, and the emails of the site’s operator Jim Parks and an assistant football coach.

They also have released dossiers on other officials in the town and what the hackers believe their connections are to the case.

Many of the officials and athletic backers have publicly called the conspiracy assertions absurd and say the hackers are unfairly maligning the whole town.

“The outrageous claims they made while controlling this site were totally false, completely absurd, and totally unfounded,” said a message on the athletics site, which is not affiliated with the school district. “They were clearly both libelous and slanderous, and were not even intended to reveal truth, but rather simply to get media attention and terrorize the Steubenville community.”

At Dec. 29 rally at the Jefferson County court house, hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered to support the 16-year-old victim and chanted for Steubenville Head Football Coach Reno Saccoccia to resign.

Saccoccia told The Plain Dealer in August that he was unaware of social media activities of his players or that they were drinking and partying. But he has defended the character of the football players in court, a move that disturbed some.

Another rally is scheduled for today at noon.

The Plain Dealer first wrote about the case on Sept. 2, about two weeks after the rape was reported to Steubenville police by the teen girl’s parents. At that time it quickly became one of the most viewed stories on the paper’s affiliate, cleveland.com.

Then in December, The New York Times did a similar story, which drew the attention of members of the hacker groups.

Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office is leading the investigation and prosecuting the case, fielded questions on CNN yesterday.

He later told The Plain Dealer that his office continues to gather evidence in the case but will not try it in the media. He warned that not all the evidence being disseminated on the Internet is true.

DeWine took over the case in the fall after the local prosecutor Jane Hanlin stepped aside because of conflicts — her son plays on the football team.

The attorney general would not comment on the scope of the investigation and whether it would look at allegations that adults in positions of power with the football program or elsewhere obstructed or tried to cover-up evidence.

“We certainly see what’s up on the Internet,” DeWine said, adding the investigators decide what is worth following up on.

“Some of the allegations might be irrelevant,” he said. “People can do bad things that are not criminal. We are confined to the criminal law. When we judge what to run down and not rundown, we do it with that reference point,“ he said.

DeWine and Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty have had to deflect online criticism that the case hasn’t been thoroughly investigated in terms of evidence recovered from iPhones and from the Internet.

McCafferty has said that detectives scoured the Internet and saved volumes of information but that not all of it could be used in the criminal case.

A state analyst testified at a hearing in the case that they were unable to recover evidence from Apple phones confiscated from some of the students. Only two photos attached to text messages were recovered from one of the accused football players’ phones.

“We have as good of experts as anywhere,” DeWine said. “Our BCI lab does this everyday of the week. If it can be retrieved we will have it.”

This week, the hackers released video of a former Steubenville student ranting about the victim in the case — who he refers to throughout as “the dead girl.” The girl was apparently unconscious. Testimony in Juvenile Court indicated that she and the boys were drinking at several parties that night.

After the girl’s parents reported the rape in August the 12-minute video was deleted from YouTube, though evidence of its existence was preserved by blogger and social media analyst Alexandra Goddard on her web site Prinniefied.com.

DeWine said investigators were aware of the video from the beginning and they would be the ones to decide whether to factor it into the case or not.

DeWine called the video “disgusting” and said he worries that the victim “continues to be victimized by diatribes.”

The student, who now attends Ohio State University didn’t respond to calls or emails about the video last summer and could not be reached this week.

The video recorded at the home of another student whose party the football players and the reported victim had attended that night contains dozens of distasteful references about the attack.



A few other teens in attendance seem to be upset about what is being said, but others laugh.

The video quickly went viral and national outlets such as CNN and the Huffington Post picked up on the story.

The attorney for the family of the 16-year-old West Virginia teen told national media outlets, including CNN that she is in counseling and is “doing as well as one can expect.”

Prosecutors said she remembers little of the attack and only became aware of its extent through the statements and photos online.

“She’s trying to go about her life right now, which is difficult because of all the media attention,” family attorney Robert Fitzsimmons has said.

One woman who plans to attend today’s rally said she wants to see the culture that allowed the attack to happen change. The woman, who has lived in the area her whole life and was sexually assaulted years ago, said she isn’t optimistic.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” she said. “But I’m hoping it does happen.”

Katie Hanna, of the Ohio Alliance To End Sexual Violence, has been monitoring the case since August.

The viral video, in addition to coverage of the rape and murder of a woman in India by multiple men and the failure of Congress to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act all show that we still live in a culture that supports rape, Hanna said.

Hanna pointed out Steubenville has no sexual assault prevention programs in the schools and there is no money to pay for it. Less than half of Ohio’s 88 counties even have rape crisis services available at all, she said.

"With dedicated resources for core services and prevention, relationships could be built over time to address the systemic culture of rape that exists in Ohio and nationally," she said.

Hanna said her agency has gotten calls on their resource line following recent media attention, with some survivors talking about what happened for the first time, as well as others reporting that they were not believed when they told someone else what happened.

"Out of respect for all survivors, the attention needs to be placed on the offenders and on the actions we can each take as a culture to prevent rape from occurring in the first place and supporting survivors when a crime has been committed," she said.

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Impressionable Teen Or Terrorist?


PORTLAND, Ore. — For more than two years, the only image the public has had of the man accused of plotting to detonate an 1,800-pound bomb at a Portland Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is this: A sullen-faced, sunken-eyed terrorism suspect in a mug shot taken just hours after his arrest.

Mohamed Mohamud Trial

At the trial that begins Thursday, Mohamed Mohamud's attorneys will attempt to present a different image, one of an impressionable teenager lured by undercover agents with the FBI, which snared one of its youngest terrorism suspects with his arrest in November 2010.

At issue is whether Mohamud was entrapped, as his defense claims, when he gave the go-ahead for the detonation of what he thought was a bomb at the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. The bomb was a fake, provided by FBI agents whom the 19-year-old thought were his jihadist co-conspirators.

It was one in a series of high-profile FBI terror stings dating back to the Justice Department's directive to ramp up its terror prosecutions and informant network after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Based on pretrial filings, one of the avenues Mohamud's attorneys are likely to pursue is based on an undisputed fact: Mohamud was a teenager when he was arrested, and his attorneys allege he was still a minor when the FBI began to focus on him.

This, his attorneys say, made him much more vulnerable to FBI enticements, and a jury should consider him an unwilling pawn of a Justice Department hungry for a conviction that demonstrates its regard for terrorism as its highest priority.

This, too, is not in dispute: Mohamud pushed a button on a cellphone that he thought would set off a bomb placed in a van and kill thousands.

The FBI alleges in court documents – and backed it up with transcripts of conversations secretly recorded by undercover agents – that Mohamud picked the time and place of the detonation. The high school graduate from Beaverton, Ore., knew the area and knew that the event would be well-attended.

"It's gonna be a fireworks show," the FBI says he told undercover agents. "A spectacular show."

Prosecutors also allege Mohamud "explained how he had been thinking of committing some form of violent jihad since the age of 15," according to the affidavit filed in connection with his arrest.

Mohamud's attorneys have a high bar to cross, said Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School.

"The entrapment defense is really difficult, much more difficult when it comes to terrorism cases," Greenberg said.

Juries are being asked to weigh heavy legal questions of predisposition against more visceral evidence like secret audio recordings of the defendant praising violent jihad. "Once you're accused of terrorism (in front of U.S. juries), you're presumed to be guilty," Greenberg said.

Attorneys from both sides are forbidden from speaking about the case publicly.

For a time, Mohamud was able to live two lives – as a young immigrant trying to fit in, and a Muslim who had become radicalized.

Mohamed Mohamud's family emigrated from Mogadishu, Somalia, where he was born in 1991. He moved to the U.S. when he was about 5 years old.

Mohamud professed aspirations of becoming an engineer, like his father. As a student at Oregon State University, he spent his freshman year studying, playing basketball and partying but eventually dropped out.

As a senior in high school, Mohamud had begun writing articles for an online English-language jihadist magazine called "Jihad Recollections" under the pen name Ibn al-Mubarak, advocating physical fitness for the mujahedeen in places where they couldn't find exercise equipment.

He wrote three articles, including one praising the content and presentation of al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Shabab Media.

The FBI began monitoring Mohamud's emails. In the summer of 2010 FBI undercover agents set up the first in a series of meetings with Mohamud, who talked about a dream in which he led a group of fighters into Afghanistan against "the infidels."

According to the prosecution's version of events, Mohamud's undercover handlers offered him several choices in the service of jihad. They ranged from simple prayer to full-on martyrdom. Mohamud chose a step short of killing himself, saying he wanted to "become operational," according to the FBI.

This, they say, should show that Mohamud was more than an unwitting teenager.

Journalist Trevor Aaronson found a common thread in such sting cases, documented in a forthcoming book, "The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism," which spends a chapter on elements of the Mohamud case.

"(The stings) all have minor variations, but they're all pretty much the same in that they involve people who don't have the capacity to commit the crimes" for which they're prosecuted, Aaronson said.

Aaronson said Mohamud didn't have access to bomb-making materials and, while he espoused anti-Western views, showed no capacity for carrying out acts of terror.

"If you're going to prosecute every loudmouth," Aaronson said, "our courts would be clogged."
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The case of Clara Schwartz - The Bizarre Murder of Robert Schwartz

Monday, December 17, 2012

The case of Clara Schwartz - The Bizarre Murder of Robert Schwartz
Clara Schwartz and Mike Pfohl
Robert Schwartz, 57, was nationally renowned in the field of biometrics and DNA research. The Associated Press's Matthew Barakat reports that Schwartz had been working for the past 15 years on DNA sequencing analysis at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, Virginia. Ironically, while the discovery of DNA identification in the 1980s revolutionized crime investigation, especially for extreme crimes such as rape and murder, Schwartz himself fell victim to one such incident.

On Monday, December 10, 2001, Schwartz did not show up for work. His coworkers phoned a neighbor to check on him. He had lived alone since his wife had died and was usually quite punctual, so they were worried. They had good reason to be. His corpse was found facedown in his log-and-slate farmhouse, situated near Hamilton, which was around 40 miles west of Washington, D.C. He had been stabbed repeatedly (one report said 30 times, another 45) with a sharp knife-like implement some time on December 8, two days earlier, and left where he had died. Investigators who arrived at the scene could clearly see an 'X' carved into the skin on the back of Schwartz's neck, according to the Bloodbank newsletter. This mark seemed to indicate that the murder was ritualistic, although the clue wasn't clear.

But Schwartz's neighbors were helpful. They had seen three teenagers, two boys and a girl, arrive at the farm during the time in which the murder was estimated to have occurred. The kids had gotten stuck in the mud and had called a tow truck. Giving their names and addresses made it easier for authorities to find them. Within days, the police had arrested three friends of Schwartz's college-age daughter, Clara: Kyle Hulbert, 18; Michael Paul Pfohl, 21; and Katherine Inglis, 19. After the three started talking, there was little doubt that Hulbert had killed the victim, but his bizarre confession and the reasons he gave initially pushed investigators in the wrong direction.

Court records released the day after Christmas and noted in the Washington Post indicated that the police had seized several knives, swords, and documents about human sacrifice from the home of Inglis and Pfohl. The "X" was thus surmised to be an occult symbol. In addition, they had seized a computer and two black cloaks from the Haymarket home, and also took a computer from Hulbert's home. It wasn't long before they had pieced together a strange and deadly game.

This murder was included in a special report about the apparent bad luck that had befallen scientists during a brief period of time, suggesting an odd association between violence and those employed in the pursuit of biological research.

Cursed?

In January, less than a month after Robert Schwartz was found murdered, Paul Sieveking, writing for the Sunday Telegraph in London (in the "strange but true" section), included the case in a feature about the harm that had recently befallen scientists.

On Halloween, Vietnamese immigrant Kathy Nguyen, a hospital technician, inhaled anthrax and died in Manhattan. She had no known connection with the spores, and no bacteria were found in any place where she had been during the previous week. On November 12, Dr. Benito Que, a biologist, was attacked by four men wielding a baseball bat at the Miami Medical School. Then Harvard microbiologist Don Wiley, who was investigating immune disorders, vanished. His car was found abandoned on a bridge over the Mississippi River. His family insisted that he would not have committed suicide, yet his body was found three hundred miles downriver. While investigators were still searching for him, Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik, a microbiologist who worked with biological weapons in the former Soviet Union, died of a stroke, and on December 14, microbiologist Set Van Nguyen suffocated in an Australian storage area full of gas.

It seemed odd that so many scientists had died within a month of one another, and Schwartz was added to this list. As a murder victim, his case was among the most dramatic. Sieveking ended the article on a suggestive note: "It is possible that nothing connects this string of events; but as with the deaths between 1982 and 1988 of 25 scientists connected with the defense industry — many of which were bizarre or mysterious — it offers ample fodder for the conspiracy theorist or thriller writer."

Indeed, the Schwartz murder case would have some sordid twists, and the real story came out with the arrest of Clara Schwartz, the victim's daughter. The police had interviewed her for five hours on December 12, two days after the murder, and she had said then that she did not think that Hulbert, a recent acquaintance, would do such a thing. But she also admitted that in her "heart of hearts" she knew he would. They let her go but did not forget her. Soon they had reason to turn the investigative spotlight back on her. Apparently she had failed to tell them, when notified about her father's death, that Hulbert had told her on December 9 that he had committed the murder the day before. She had also failed to inform them about the "role-playing game."

Katherine Inglis helpfully connected the dots. Sondra London recounts her statement in True Vampires. She claimed to have had some idea of what was about to occur on December 8 when she and her boyfriend, Michael Pfohl, gave Hulbert a ride to the Schwartz home to "do a job." When they let him out and went to turn around to wait for him, they got stuck in the mud. Hulbert returned and they asked him to go use the Schwartz phone to call for assistance. He was hesitant. "He told us very seriously," Inglis wrote, "that nobody was in the home twice and I did the math." Then he placed a sword in the car that she saw was smeared with red liquid. "I couldn't be sure that Mr. Schwartz was dead," she added. "I hoped he wasn't. But in the back of my mind, I knew he was."

They discussed an alibi among them, deciding to say that they had gone to the area to get something for Clara, but no one had been home. On the morning the body was discovered, Clara called to tell them that the police had their names and addresses. She had been questioned but not arrested. She told them she was going to go stay with her grandparents.

Inglis ended her statement with the naïve hope that she and Mike could go on with their lives after turning Hulbert in. She agreed to testify against him if necessary, but she seemed to have no comprehension of what she had done. Had she genuinely been morally alarmed by what had occurred, she would not have participated in the construction of an alibi, but would have called the police herself. She did not. Neither did Clara.

Domestic Homicide

Clara Jane Schwartz, 21, was arrested on February 1, 2002, at her dorm on the James Madison University campus where she was a sophomore. A computer was also removed from her room, and she was charged as the fourth person in the conspiracy to murder Robert Schwartz. Documents found during a legal search indicated that she had helped to plan her father's murder with the other three suspects. Although her grandfather denied to reporters that she'd had any such contact with the suspects, she was taken before a magistrate in Loudoun County, Virginia and then to the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center. There she remained until her trial.

The dorm monitor, Mark Pinnow, who did not know her well, offered an observation to reporters about her relationship with her father when Robert Schwartz brought Clara to school to drop her off: "They seemed to have that kind of father-daughter relationship where they were both different and knew it." Pinnow thought Clara was friendly. In fact, she was a good student, and she was avidly interested in history and Civil War battlefields. Those who knew the computer-science major, who owned her own horse, thought of her as smart and on her way to being quite accomplished.

Yet some also knew her as brooding and rebellious. According to the Washington Post, she liked to dress in the gothic look, sported dark clothing and liked to listen to heavy metal music. She tended to hang out with people who preferred an alternative lifestyle — "alts," as they liked to refer to themselves, to mark their boundaries as outsiders. She had also moved into a single room in a dorm that was a converted Howard Johnson's motel situated behind a gas station — a place for students who desired seclusion. Her grandfather, speaking to reporters, acknowledged that she was drawn toward a "fringe" group of young people, and attributed that to having to deal with her mother's death from cancer four years earlier. Other relatives said that in recent years she had been distant from the family.

"She was very, very close to her mother," the grandfather told the Washington Post, "and I think it was a rather serious thing for her. And my son worked overtime trying to help her. She certainly had a lot of emotional problems that were fairly apparent."

Reporters sought out an attorney whom Clara had retained directly after the murder when the police first started asking questions, but he indicated that he was no longer in her employ. When questioned about the arrest, the police would not offer a motive. Relatives insisted that Schwartz had been a devoted father who talked often of his three college-age children.

Yet when the news of Clara's arrest was reported, the Associated Press included an interesting item: Inglis allegedly had admitted to investigators that Clara had told her and the other two that her father had been violent with her and had tried to poison her "at least 11 times." Such things do happen, and children involved in roleplaying and occult activities may overdramatize the possibility. But family members denied it, and the police had no record of having to go to the home to intervene in any situations. At any rate, Inglis further stated that Hulbert had gone into the farmhouse alone with a 27-inch sword hidden under his coat and had used it to slash and stab the scientist. She and her boyfriend, Paul Pfohl, had waited for him in the car. They'd had nothing to do with the murder, she said, adding that Hulbert had believed he was doing something good for Clara. Yet he hardly even knew her.

The Vampire

Hulbert had a history of mental disorders, including a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. His family had found him too difficult to handle, so he had been in several psychiatric institutions. It also turned out that he was deeply involved in roleplaying games that involved vampire imagery. While such games do not cause someone to become violent, and the majority of participants in the Live Action Role Playing groups (LARP) are just in it for fun and creative outlets, LARPs can attract mentally unstable people, who find encouragement for their delusions within them. Hulbert apparently did. He also had a fascination with medieval wizardry and weaponry, and eventually offered a rather chilling seven-page confession.

Sondra London included this case and his confession in her discussion of dissociation in True Vampires. She indicates that when a killer claims to have become someone else (as Hulbert vaguely suggested), he may be acknowledging a "criminal alter" that can take over a host body and get him to commit crimes. She went on to talk about the Hulbert/Schwartz incident, adding multiple personality disorder (now called dissociative identity disorder) to his psychiatric portfolio, although no professional had diagnosed him with the disorder. (Inglis mentioned this in her confession, so it could be the source of London 's ideas.) London also said that Clara had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and the condition had gone untreated, although this is probably untrue. That, too, was taken from Inglis' statement, and her knowledge was based only on things that Clara had said. No record of such a diagnosis was produced for court.

At any rate, in the confession taken in December, Kyle Hulbert told a magistrate that he alone was responsible for the killing. It was not premeditated, and Inglis and Pfohl did not know about it before it occurred. After Schwartz was dead, he said, he had called Clara to tell her that he had "done the job." He believed that Schwartz had been trying to poison his daughter with various chemicals that he placed into her food. Hulbert said that Clara once had handed over some cooked pork to him and insisted that her father had poisoned it. Hulbert had taken a bite and spit it back out. "I could tell," he wrote, "it had been tampered with, both by taste and by smell." He indicated that Clara had said that her father had cooked it separately from the other food.

Hulbert had met the man three times on prior occasions and had felt Schwartz's animosity toward him. Then, when Clara told him about an impending family trip to the Virgin Island, Hulbert believed that her father would attempt to kill her there. According to Hulbert, he had to do something to stop the man, especially as his visions of what Mr. Schwartz would do to Clara grew overwhelming. He claimed to have once seen Schwartz yell at his daughter and make her cry, and he indicated that "I could not bear the sight of that."

One newspaper story stated that Hulbert claimed to be a vampire, but that he heard the voices of entities named Sabba, Nicodemus, and Ordog instructing him to kill only for a "just cause." Thus, saving Clara became his driving purpose. He had seen Schwartz actually serve a pork chop and lemons to her on a prior visit, so those had become symbols to him of the way the man was poisoning her. Hulbert also indicated that he planned to say that demons had told him to do the killing. That way, Clara would be spared, should the plan be discovered.

So on December 8, Hulbert knocked on the door to the Schwartz home. In his confession, he described exactly what had taken place. Robert Schwartz answered the door and Hulbert asked if Clara was there. When told she wasn't, he asked if he could get her number. Schwartz invited him in. Hulbert used the bathroom and then followed the 57-year-old to the dining room and confronted him. Hulbert accused him of abusing his daughter and he believed he saw guilt in the man's eyes that amounted to a confession. The man had smiled, he said, and then had "backhanded" him, which cut him over the left eye. That had triggered the attack. Hulbert said that he did not remember carving an "X" on Schwartz, and investigators concluded that it was probably an incidental slash mark rather than something ritualistic.

But Hulbert insisted that if he had not seen the clear evidence of the man's guilt on his face, he would have allowed Schwartz to live. Using the sword to slash and stab, he brought Schwartz to his knees, although the dying man continued to try to defend himself. "Somewhere in the back of my mind, someone laughed at a fool who would grab an attacker's blade," Hulbert said. Hulbert stabbed Schwartz and felt his grip loosen: "I told him to back off and let me pass." He claims that Schwartz just grinned at him. Schwartz came at him again and he got some of the man's blood in his mouth. "It drove me into a frenzy," he said. He just kept stabbing and stabbing the man in the back. Hulbert then described Schwartz's last moments, saying that Schwartz had looked up at Hulbert and asked, "What did I ever do to you?" With that, Hulbert had delivered the final blow, killing him.

"When I returned to the state of mindfulness and sanity," Hulbert wrote, "I was drawing the sword from his back." He rinsed the weapon off, turned off most of the lights in the home, and went to find his friends. One of his voices instructed him to leave quickly, he wrote, because the victim's soul had already departed. Hulbert closed his confession with the belief that he had saved Clara and "whatever happens to us, we will survive." Then he had signed it with "Demon" and offered an apology to the Schwartz family, asking their forgiveness.

When attorneys were assigned, they told the press that whatever Hulbert may have said was unreliable, due to his mental illness. Hulbert's father echoed that, insisting that Kyle had viewed the incident as part of the game. He apparently had stopped taking his medication due to money problems just a few days before the murder.

Indictments

Clara Jane was arraigned on February 5, 2002, as her older brother and sister watched in grief and horror. In a quiet voice, she requested a court-appointed lawyer to defend her against the charge of first-degree murder. Her arrest was the culmination of a two-month investigation that included an analysis of coded e-mails and instant messages among the four friends regarding Clara's alleged domestic situation. (Clara had kept them in a file labeled "UW People," for Underworld, in her dorm room.) The investigation had also involved interviews with all four of them, and written statements from three.

As the details came out, it seemed that Clara had told the others that her father had tried to poison her, and she thought her life would be better if he were eliminated. When Clara wanted to talk about murder in these messages, she used the word, "tay," and she referred to her father as OG — "Old Guy." In other words, her premeditation was fairly elaborate, although she told reporters that she thought Hulbert was "just joking" when he said he would do it. Yet she also admitted that she had believed that he actually would, and in one message, as reported in AP, she said that "all I ask is that it not trace back to me."

In March 2002, a grand jury reconvened to consider the case. They indicted Clara on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and solicitation to commit murder. One of these latter charges focused on time periods from June to November and November to December, which involved two different people whose identities were made clear during her trial. Clara's attorneys, who insisted that it was not possible to enter into a conspiracy with someone who would be considered insane, were frustrated that the prosecutors had no unified theory about the incident, and said so to reporters. The Loudoun Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney, Owen D. Basham, hinted otherwise, but would not give a specific comment.

The other three defendants had been indicted as well on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Only Inglis was being considered for a deal, because she seemed the least involved and she was willing to testify against the others.

According to the Washington Post at the end of March, 2002, Clara had been searching for several months for someone to kill her father. She met Kyle Hulbert in October at a Renaissance festival in Crownsville, MD, and managed to convince him to do the "noble thing" for a "damsel in distress." They developed a close relationship (which he affirmed in his confession) that inspired him to feel protective of her, as a brother to a sister.

Clara sent Hulbert a check for $60 on the night before the murder, via overnight delivery. She apparently told detectives it was for Hulbert to be able to pay for gas to get to the farmhouse, gloves to prevent him from leaving fingerprints, a cap ("do-rag") to prevent him from shedding hair that might be found and link him to the scene, and rags to clean up any potential trace evidence. He was also to purchase a phone card so he could call her without the call being traced to his phone.

Clara's Trial

Katherine Inglis made her deal with prosecutors to testify in return for having the first-degree murder charge dropped. Yet she still faced other accessory charges. Her case would not be settled until the other three were concluded.

Clara's trial was first, followed by Hulbert's. Pretrial hearings indicated that Clara now claimed to have been sexually abused by her father. Her defense attorneys hoped to portray her as a kid dealing with troubling issues who found escape in fantasy and thus did not realize that the young man she had urged to kill her father might actually go through with it. In her fantasy play, she took on roles of people who needed protecting. "In the fall of 2001," defense attorney James Connell said, according to court records, "the silly dark world of Clara Schwartz collided with the dark and dangerous world of Kyle Hulbert."

However, prosecutors had a surprise: They had located another young man whom Clara had approached for the same purpose. That took some of the starch out of the defense's argument, though not all of it.

The trial began in October 2002, ten months after the murder. Clara wore a blue sweater and a long skirt for the first day of testimony. In an opening statement, prosecutor Jennifer Wexton said that Clara had initially asked a man named Patrick House, 21, to kill her father. He had participated in her roleplaying fantasy game in the role of an assassin, but he said when he had realized that Clara was serious about committing a violent act, he quickly distanced himself from the others. He said that she hated her father and wanted her considerable inheritance.

While parricide is a fairly rare crime that is overwhelmingly committed by boys, writes Charles Patrick Ewing in Fatal Families, there are occasional cases of girls either killing or engaging someone else to kill their father. Mostly such murders are triggered by abuse, but some are done out of greed. One case that Ewing cites occurred in Texas in 1994. Jennifer Nicole Yesconis, 20, was invited to dinner to celebrate her father's fifth anniversary to her stepmother. She did not show up, but her boyfriend and another boy did, and they shot and killed Mr. and Mrs. Yesconis. According to the killers, Nicole had masterminded the killings to collect on her father's insurance policy. She went to trial saying that she had been sexually abused, but another witness recalled her saying that she would pay $30,000 to someone to kill her father. She was convicted of capital murder.

The case of Clara Schwartz was similar but a bit more elaborate. Patrick House had briefly dated her prior to the killing of her father. He described the fantasy game called "Underworld" that Clara had invented. She had played a character called Lord Chaos, and he had been an assassin. Clara referred to the victim in the game as Old Guy, her "evil father." She ordered House to kill him as part of the game, but eventually he found a way to put her off until he could extricate himself from the role. That's when she turned to Kyle Hulbert, whom she met shortly thereafter. He was called on to testify, but invoked his right against self-incrimination and did not take the stand. Nevertheless, his written confession was allowed in as evidence. In addition, a document found in Clara's room, dated December 8, appeared to thank her cohorts in coded language for their part in the act.

The defense attorneys jumped into action. They tried to make House appear as out of touch with reality as Hulbert was, hoping to show that both young men had misunderstood what she had said. One attorney got House to admit to his belief that dragons were real and had lived during the times of King Arthur. He also indicated that he believed in casting spells. He had cast one to protect himself "against other people's magic," using salt, sanctified water, and a candle. The jury was now exposed to a boy one who had some pretty strange beliefs of his own.

Defense attorneys also used school psychologist Kathleen Aux to shore up their argument. She addressed the psychological problems that Hulbert had in a way that affirmed that he could have misinterpreted what Clara actually wanted.

Yet the prosecution had another witness as well: a friend of Clara's who said that Clara had mentioned on several occasions that she wanted her father dead. Katherine Inglis, too, added that she had witnessed a conversation in which Clara had angrily described her father's abuse.

On October 15, after a week of testimony and only four hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Clara of first-degree murder. The prosecutor asked for a stiff sentence, but the defense cited mitigating factors in light of Clara's testimony about abuse. The jurors recommended a 48-year prison sentence. The defense attorneys said they would appeal on the grounds that the jury had not given enough consideration to the evidence, especially with regard to the psychological issues suffered by Hulbert, the killer.

Judge Thomas Horne scheduled the formal sentencing for January 21. The defense tried to delay it, pending a psychological report on Hulbert, but this motion was denied. Nevertheless, sentencing was delayed into February so the judge could examine the defense's notion that the prosecution had not turned over evidence they possessed of actual abuse of Clara Schwartz. The defense also wanted to file a motion, based on an interview with one of Clara's high-school teachers, that her father had verbally abused her. The teacher thought that Schwartz had more or less abandoned the girl, and that the two had often engaged in serious arguments. Clara's sister acknowledged that the two had had a stormy relationship, especially when they lived together alone in the home during Clara's senior year. In a last-ditch effort, the defense attorneys argued that Clara's actions were the result of hyperthyroidism. They wanted the sentence to be reduced to 30 years.

On February 10, after the judge decided that the defense's motion issue about abuse would have had no effect on the verdict, he sentenced Clara Schwartz to 48 years in prison, meaning she would be released when she was 68 (with a possible reduction to age 61). Judge Horne told her in a fatherly manner that she was responsible for her actions. In an AP article, Heather Greenfield wrote that Clara showed no emotion as she left the courtroom. She also did not look at any of her relatives, some of whom had testified against her.

Next up was Kyle Hulbert.

Hulbert's Decision

On December 20, Michael Paul Pfohl pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, admitting that he had assisted two friends with the murder of Robert Schwartz a year earlier. He had agreed, he said, to drive Hulbert to the home where the murder took place, and he felt ashamed about his part in the crime. He faced a maximum of 21 years and four months in prison. In a written statement, Pfohl admitted that he and his girlfriend, Katherine Inglis, drove to the Springfield mall on the night of December 8. They met friends there, and Pfohl told someone that he was scared to take Hulbert where he wanted to go. He was aware that Hulbert was going to kill someone and he did not want to be an accessory to murder. Having called his involvement a "big oopsy" on the day he was arrested, he admitted that he vaguely realized what he was getting into. In a written apology, he asked Robert Schwartz to give him some "sign" that he was "well." He also excused Hulbert on the basis that Hulbert believed he was right to do what he did. Nevertheless, Pfohl seemed to think he had betrayed Hulbert, and seemed to be sorrier about that than about his role in the murder.

Hulbert had been charged with first-degree murder. People speculated that he would pursue an insanity defense, i.e., prove that he had a mental disorder that kept him from understanding that what he had done was wrong or had caused him to have an irresistible impulse to commit the crime. But on February 27, 2003, newspapers noted that he was not going to do that. His attorneys had a deadline to inform the court of their intent and did not do so. Because of the evidence of premeditation, as well as the admissions made afterward, an insanity defense would be difficult to pursue, despite Hulbert's clear history of mental instability. His trial was scheduled for March 17 in Loudoun County Circuit Court. In his defense, he stated, "I have always told Clara I would protect her. I could not kill him [Schwartz] without just cause. If I was not defending myself or someone I loved, I could not kill."

On March 10, 2003, at a 15-minute hearing a week before Hulbert's scheduled trial, he declared himself a murderer in court. He had decided that making a plea rather than going to trial was the right thing to do. Admitting regret for his actions and for ever having met Clara Schwartz, he said that she had manipulated him into doing what he had done. "I allowed myself to be poisoned," he was quoted as saying in the Washington Post, "Not a day goes by that I don't think about what I did."

Psychiatrist Howard Glick testified before sentencing that Hulbert had made up imaginary friends such as vampires and dragons to make him feel as if he had a sense of family. He had connected strongly with Clara, who also felt like an outsider and claimed that she'd been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that had given him an even greater sense of family. She was now his sister, and he had to protect her. When she needed help, he got the chance to act on his fantasies of heroism and nobility. It was as simple as that, and as tragic.

Judge Horne acknowledged Hulbert's difficult life in and out of institutions and foster care, but said to him what he said to Clara: You are responsible for your actions. For the murder, Hulbert was sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole, and another 10 years was added concurrently for conspiracy charges.

Last to be sentenced was Katherine Inglis. Schwartz and Pfohl, on the advice of their attorneys, offered nothing to implicate her, so her case came to an end. There were no other leads to investigate to prove her part in the murder, aside from helping to cover it up. On November 14, 2003, she received a sentence of 12 months. At that time, the Washington Post noted, she had six more days to serve.
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Mass Shootings: After 19 In Five Years - No Answers

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mass Shootings: After 19 In Five Years - No Answers
On Friday, Dec. 14, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and opened fire on students and teachers, killing at least 26 and wounding others.

Though the victims were younger -- some of the 20 children killed on Friday were in kindergarten -- the massacre drew comparisons to the 2007 tragedy at Virginia Tech that left 32 dead and 17 others wounded in the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. Hundreds more have died in shootings during the five years that have passed since that devastating marker.

There is no official definition of a "mass shooting," but FBI classifications describe the term as any incident in which a perpetrator kills four or more people, not including him or herself. Under that definition, 19 mass shootings have taken place since April 16, 2007, the date of the Virginia Tech massacre. That's a rate of more than one every four months -- only considering these most brutal examples. Other devastating shootings go largely unnoticed on the national stage.

When mass shootings prompt a presidential response -- and they often don't -- the White House tends to focus on investigating the shooter's motives and encouraging people to pray or mourn for the victims. The question of how easy it is for certain individuals to buy guns is often left off the table entirely.

The tendency to approach the issue with an abundance of caution was on display on Friday, when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave the administration's first official comments on the incident, saying that it wasn't the day to discuss gun control policy.

It would appear that it never is.

President Barack Obama unsurprisingly left politics and policy out of his brief address on the matter Friday. He did make a promising plea for "meaningful action." Time will tell whether he can -- or will even attempt to -- translate these words into specific policy change.


Five Years, 19 Mass Shootings, No Action

Below, a list of the 19 mass shootings over the past 5-plus years, alongside the political responses, if any, to the incidents:

  • December 14, 2012 - Newtown, Conn. - 27 dead (including gunman)
  • december 12, 2012 - Portland, Oregon - 2 dead (including gunman)
  • September 27, 2012 - Minneapolis, Minn. - 7 dead (including gunman), 2 injured
  • August 5, 2012 - Oak Creek, Wis. - 7 dead (including gunman), 4 injured
  • May 31, 2012 - Seattle, Wash. - 6 dead (including gunman)
  • July 20, 2012 - Aurora, Colo. - 12 dead, 59 injured
  • February 22, 2012 - Norcross, Ga. - 5 dead (including gunman)
  • October 12, 2011 - Seal Beach, Calif. - 8 dead, 1 injured
  • January 8, 2011 - Tucson, Ariz. - 6 dead, 14 injured
  • August 3, 2010 - Manchester, Conn. - 9 dead (including gunman), 2 injured
  • November 29, 2009 - Parkland, Wash. - 5 dead (including gunman)
  • November 5, 2009 - Fort Hood, Texas - 13 dead, 30 injured (including gunman)
  • April 3, 2009 - Binghamton, N.Y. - 14 dead (including gunman), 4 injured
  • March 10, 2009 - Geneva County, Ala. -- 11 dead (including gunman), 6 injured
  • March 29, 2009 -- Carthage, N.C. - 8 dead, 3 injured (including gunman)
  • June 25, 2008 - Henderson, Ky. - 6 dead (including gunman), 1 injured
  • April 16, 2007 - Virginia Tech campus, Blacksburg, Va. - 33 dead (including gunman), 23 injured
  • February 7, 2008 - Kirkwood, Mo. - 7 dead (including gunman), 1 injured
  • December 5, 2007 - Omaha, Neb. - 9 dead (including gunman)
  • October 7, 2007 - Crandon, Wis. - 7 dead (including gunman), 1 injured
  • February 14, 2008 - DeKalb, Ill. - 6 dead (including gunman, 21 injured)
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Mass Shooting at Connecticut Elementary School

Mass Shooting at Connecticut Elementary School Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting: Newtown, Connecticut Administrators, Students Among Victims, Reports Say

There is something very wrong at the heart of the USA that these sorts of events happen frequently.

Authorities in Connecticut responded to a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday morning, the local NBC station reports.

Police reported 27 deaths, including 20 children, six adults and the shooter, according to the Associated Press.

Following hours of uncertainty during which many media outlets reported the shooter's identity as Ryan Lanza, an official identified the suspected gunman as Adam Lanza, Ryan's 20 year old brother, according to the Associated Press. Ryan Lanza, 24, is being questioned by police in New Jersey.

Reports say that the gunman carried four weapons, and wore black clothing as well as a bullet proof vest. He died on the scene.

Unconfirmed reports say that principal Dawn Hochsprung and a school psychologist were killed, according to a parent who claimed to witness part of the attack, CNN reported.

Danbury Hospital's emergency room staff has readied its wing for the arrival of an unknown number of victims, a spokeswoman for Western Connecticut Health Network told News Times.

Reports say that the alleged shooter appeared in the building's main office at about 9:40 a.m., approximately 30 minutes after the school day began.

The initial 911 call said that students were trapped in a classroom with the adult shooter who had two guns, according to WABC.

Students were led single file from the schoolhouse to a nearby fire station. Parents alerted to the catastrophe by text messages and emails sent by the school district arrived hoping to find their children safe.

There are approximately 626 students enrolled in kindergarten through 4th grade classes at Sandy Hook Elementary, with another 46 faculty members, Newtown Patch reported.

More from the Associated Press:

By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, The Associated Press

NEWTOWN, Conn. — A man opened fire inside the Connecticut elementary school where his mother worked Friday, killing 26 people, including 18 children, and forcing students to cower in classrooms and then flee with the help of teachers and police.

The death toll – 26 victims plus the gunman – was given to The Associated Press by an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way.

The shooting appeared to be the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, which left 32 people and the gunman dead.

Parents flooded to Sandy Hook Elementary School, about 60 miles northeast of New York City, looking for their children in the wake of the shooting. Students were told to close their eyes by police as they were led from the building.

A photo taken by The Newtown Bee newspaper showed a group of young students – some crying, others looking visibly frightened – being escorted by adults through a parking lot in a line, hands on each other's shoulders.

Students and staff were among the victims, state police Lt. Paul Vance said a brief news conference. He also said the gunman was dead inside the school, but he refused to say how many people were killed.

A law enforcement official briefed on the shooting said the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and that one of the victims was the man's mother, a teacher. The official wasn't authorized to speak about the investigation.

A law enforcement official in Washington said the attacker was a 20-year-old man armed with a .223-caliber rifle. The official also said that police were searching a location in New Jersey in connection with the shootings. That official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the developing criminal investigation.

Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he said. "He was very brave. He waited for his friends."

He said the shooter didn't say a word.

Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.

"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.

Danbury Hospital was the only hospital to take in victims from the shootings, admitting three patients. Doctors said at a news conference they cleared four trauma rooms to treat shooting victims.

Mergim Bajraliu, 17, heard the gunshots echo from his home and raced to check on his 9-year-old sister at the school. He said his sister, who was fine, heard a scream come over the intercom at one point. He said teachers were shaking and crying as they came out of the building.

"Everyone was just traumatized," he said.

Richard Wilford's 7-year-old son, Richie, is in the second grade at the school. His son told him that he heard a noise that "sounded like what he described as cans falling."

The boy told him a teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the kids huddle up in the corner until police arrived.

"There's no words," Wilford said. "It's sheer terror, a sense of imminent danger, to get to your child and be there to protect him."

Melissa Makris, 43, said her 10-year-old son, Philip, was in the school gym.

"He said he heard a lot of loud noises and then screaming. Then the gym teachers immediately gathered the children in a corner and kept them safe in a corner," Makris said.

The fourth-grader told his mother that the students stayed huddled until police came in the gym. He also told her that he saw what looked like a body under a blanket as he fled the school.

"He said the policeman came in and helped them get out of the building and told them to run," Makris said. "And they ran to the firehouse."

The White House said Barack Obama was notified of the shooting and his spokesman Jay Carney said the president had "enormous sympathy for families that are affected."








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The Dennis Rader - BTK Serial killer Confessions

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Dennis Rader - BTK Serial killer Confessions

After pleading guilty to ten murders on June 27, 2005, Wichita serial killer Dennis Rader gave a chilling account of his murders in court. Appearing unmoved by the cruelty of the acts he was describing, Rader systematically described how he killed the entire Otero family and six women. He described how he followed his victims — he called them ‘projects’ — around town before finally going in for the kill. About the murder of Shirley Vian, Rader says, “I told Mrs. – Miss Vian that I had a problem with sexual fantasies, that I was going to tie her up, and that – and I might have to tie the kids up…I proceeded to tie the kids up, and they started crying and got real upset. So I said oh, this is not gonna work, so we moved ‘em to the bathroom. She helped me…then I proceeded to tie her up. She got sick, threw up. Got her a glass of water, comforted her a little bit, and then went ahead and tied her up and then put [a bag] over her head and strangled her.” Videos and a full transcript of the confession can be seen below.

BTK Confession, Part 1 - the Otero Family Murders



BTK Confession Part 2 - Kathryn Bright



BTK Confession Part 3 Shirley Vian



BTK Confession Part 4 - Nancy Fox



BTK Confession Part 5 - Marine Hedge, Vicki Wegerle



BTK Confession Part 6 - Dolores Davis




BTK Confessions

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Israel Keyes, Alaska Serial Killer, Researched Ted Bundy, Other Mass Murderers

Israel Keyes, Alaska Serial Killer, Researched Ted Bundy, Other Mass Murderers
An Alaska man who confessed to killing at least eight people across the country had researched Ted Bundy and other serial killers, saying he recognized himself in them, investigators said Monday.

But Israel Keyes told Anchorage authorities his ideas were his own. And most of all, he never called himself a serial killer, Anchorage homicide Detective Monique Doll said.

"In fact, that was one of those things that he wanted very much, as this investigation progressed, to keep from being identified as," she said.

Those details were among information Anchorage police and FBI investigators released about Keyes, who authorities said never showed any remorse, but spoke of getting a rush out of hunting for victims and killing them. He also tortured animals as a child, investigators said.

Keyes, 34, was found dead in his jail cell Dec. 2 after slitting a wrist and strangling himself with a rolled up bedsheet. Bloody, illegible notes found in his cell have been sent to the FBI lab at Quantico, Va.

Keyes was set for a March trial in the February slaying of Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig, who was abducted from the coffee stand where she worked. Investigators say the 18-year-old was raped and strangled, her body left in a shed outside Keyes' Anchorage home for two weeks while he went on a cruise.

Investigators said Monday that Keyes told them he was losing control and that his time between killings was getting shorter, which could explain why he broke his own rule of traveling long distances to find his targets.

"Israel Keyes didn't kidnap and kill people because he was crazy. He didn't kidnap and kill people because his deity told him to or because he had a bad childhood," Doll said. "Israel Keyes did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it, much like an addict gets an immense amount of enjoyment out of drugs. In a way, he was an addict, and he was addicted to the feeling that he got when he was doing this."

Before he killed Koenig, he had targeted others in Alaska. In a close call in April or May last year, he set his sights on two people at an Anchorage park to try out a silencer he had put on a rifle that would soon be put to use in Vermont. In the Anchorage case, a police officer arrived and told the intended targets the park was closed. Keyes told investigators in an audio recording released Monday that he almost pulled the trigger on all three, but another officer arrived.

"That could have got ugly," Keyes said matter of factly before chuckling. "Fortunately for the cop guy, his backup showed up."

After that, Keyes obtained a police scanner, which he used in the Koenig abduction.

Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, in March after he used Koenig's debit card. Using the debit card while eluding authorities was part of a fantasy Keyes long had, police said, and so was a $30,000 ransom note Keyes placed at an Anchorage dog park, texting directions to Koenig's boyfriend. Koenig's family could manage to pay only a fraction of that amount.

Three weeks after Keyes was arrested, Koenig's dismembered body was found in a frozen lake north of Anchorage. Keyes told authorities he had disposed of the remains there after cutting a hole in the ice with a chainsaw.

Keyes also confessed to two murders in Vermont, four in Washington state, and one on the East Coast with the body disposed of in New York in the past decade. Investigators said there also could be three other victims, for a total of 11 murders.

The only other known victims are Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt. Their bodies have not been found since their disappearance in June 2011. Keyes told authorities he sexually assaulted and strangled Lorraine Currier and shot her husband at an abandoned home, which was demolished and taken to a landfill.

Asked if it's possible Keyes exaggerated the number of victims, investigators said they believed what he told them, and they never caught him in any lies.

Investigators said Keyes enjoyed the media attention his crimes received, tracking stories on the Curriers on his computer. But he quit speaking with investigators for two months between late July and September when he learned his name had been linked to the Curriers by unconfirmed news reports.

"He enjoyed seeing media coverage of his crimes as long as he wasn't connected to those crimes," Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said. "He didn't want to see media coverage of himself."

Keyes told investigators the first violent crime he committed was a sexual assault in Oregon between 1996 and 1998 in which he let the victim go. The FBI is seeking more information on that crime.
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Serial killer in Anchorage case 'enjoyed telling us details'

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Serial killer in Anchorage case 'enjoyed telling us details'
A house in Constable, N.Y., searched by the FBI in October in conjunction with the Israel Keyes case. The cabin is on 10 heavily wooded acres that Keyes had owned since 1997. (For The Times, Chana O'Leary / December 7, 2012)

For months, authorities shared bagels and coffee with Israel Keyes, who promised to tell them everything about his crimes. 'It was chilling,' one officer says.

As they talked with him in a conference room at the federal courthouse in Anchorage, agents already were confident they had Samantha Koenig's abductor.

They had surveillance footage of Israel Keyes' truck parked outside of the lonely coffee stand where Koenig was working when she was kidnapped one frozen night in Anchorage. They had the ATM withdrawals the 34-year-old construction worker had made with her bank card. They had a ski mask found in the trunk of his vehicle. It wasn't long before he confessed.

It was the way Keyes confessed to the killing that day in March that turned the agents' confidence to alarm: The adrenaline was almost visible as he described how overwhelmingly powerful he felt as he pointed a gun at Koenig's ribs.

"His demeanor, the level of detail, the lack of remorse, the enjoyment he was getting out of telling certain details," recalled Kevin Feldis, chief of the criminal division for the U.S. attorney's office in Alaska.

Feldis felt a growing suspicion: "This was not the first time he killed somebody."

Over the last few months, Feldis and a team of detectives in Anchorage have been sharing jokes, bagels and coffee with the often-talkative but cagey suspect who had promised to tell them everything about his crimes.

By November, Keyes had admitted to eight slayings and hinted there were more, laying out a trail of killings, arson, robbery and sexual assault that spanned the width of the country. His death in a jailhouse suicide last week left law enforcement authorities scrambling to identify all eight victims and figure out how many others may have fallen prey to a man they now believe was a meticulous and prolific serial killer.

The FBI has banked Keyes' DNA and asked police and the public across the country to come forward with unsolved deaths, disappearances and possible sightings in an attempt to learn who his other victims may have been. A photo surfaced this week of someone who could have been Keyes robbing a bank in New York. Agents are pushing especially hard here in Washington state, where Keyes lived before moving to Alaska, and where, he told authorities, he had killed four people between 2001 and 2006.

"The investigators are going over everything. There might be more they can extract from what he already told them that they didn't think about before — maybe if they put it in a different context, it could provide something important," said Ayn Dietrich, FBI spokeswoman in Seattle.

Keyes appears to have spent many of his teenage years in the wooded hills of eastern Washington, north of Colville. He's the second-youngest of 10 siblings, many with Biblical names like Charity and Hosanna, who were instructed in homesteading skills such as carpentry and making goat milk soap. The family moved to the outskirts of an Amish community in Maine when Keyes' father grew concerned that their upbringing was not rigorous enough.

"Around the age of 11 and 12, my heart turned in rebellion toward my parents: My two older sisters and I were in a kind of revolt against them. We had friends they did not like, we secretly listened to music they forbade, and we got away with as much as we could," Keyes' sister, Autumnrose, wrote in a recent testimonial about her faith on her church's website. "I've thanked God many times for my earthly father, who was a strict man. When my sins came to light by God's mercy, he pulled me away from my circumstances and moved the family to an Amish community."

Keyes joined the Army in 1998 and was posted at the former Ft. Lewis base near Tacoma, Wash., at the time of his discharge in 2001. From there, he got a job doing maintenance and light construction in the remote Native American tribal community of Neah Bay, Wash. He had a daughter with a local woman and sought to win partial custody after they broke up.

"He seemed totally normal. He was quiet; he was more reserved, I guess, but you never would have picked him out for doing something like this.... In no sense of the word was he in any way weird," said David Kanters, who worked with one of Keyes' girlfriends.

"He would tell me about his days in the armed services and the parties they had. He would lovingly talk about his daughter, or tell me when he'd been up late because she was sick," said Jim Thompson, a volunteer who sometimes helped Keyes clean up community areas around Neah Bay.

About 2007, Keyes followed a girlfriend to Anchorage, where he started a construction company under his own name.

He was "reliable, unfailingly polite and responsive — you called, he called you back," said Paul Adelman, who had hired Keyes to do projects. "I completely trusted him with his work. If he gave me a bill, I always paid, no questions asked."

In March, shortly after he had killed Koenig, Keyes took his daughter to visit his mother and four sisters in Texas, where after Keyes' father died they had become members of the Church of Wells, which preaches strict spiritual separation from mainstream churches.

One of his sisters was marrying another member of the church. Pastor Jake Gardner later told a Texas television station that Keyes professed to be an atheist, and argued with church elders who tried to bring him into the faith.

"Even at the wedding the Lord pled with him and pled with him and in the midst of it all he wept and broke down weeping, bawling, even wailing, but he would not repent," Gardner said. "He said … to one of the pastors in the church, 'Not everybody has your morals,' with an undertone of hate and murder in his heart."

Keyes' frequent trips across the country were opportunities to stash weapons, ammunition and other material used in his fatal assaults, FBI agents said.

Keyes was perhaps 18 years old when he committed his first sexual crime, which he described as a violent assault on a teenage girl he encountered on the Deschutes River in Oregon. The attack was apparently never reported. "He intended to kill her, but decided to let her go," said Agent Jolene Goeden, who spent much of the summer debriefing Keyes whenever he was in the mood to talk.

Agents heard horrific details of Keyes' killing of Bill and Lorraine Currier in June 2011. Keyes cut the phone line to their house in Essex, Vt., broke in through the garage and tied them up in their bedroom. He took the couple to an old barn nearby, where he shot Bill Currier, then raped and strangled his wife.

"By all accounts they were friendly, peaceful, good people who encountered a force of pure evil acting at random," said Tristram Coffin, U.S. attorney for Vermont.

Keyes told detectives he would wander around isolated places like trail heads and boat docks, looking for victims.

"Back when I was smart, I would let them come to me … kind of go to a remote area that's not anywhere near where you live, but that other people go to as well," he said, in one of the interview snippets federal authorities have released. "Not as much to choose from, in a manner of speaking, but there's also no witness, really. There's no one else around."

He told the agents about robbing a bank in Tupper Lake, N.Y., in April 2009, and another one in Azle, Texas, in February. Only last week, they said, he provided a few details about two of the four killings he reported committing in Washington state.

"I think he was conflicted on telling us and not telling us. When he was telling us details, he enjoyed telling us details. It was chilling to listen to him, to watch him," said Anchorage Police Officer Jeff Bell, who worked with the FBI on the case.

Koenig was abducted at gunpoint Feb. 1 from the coffee stand where she worked, and was taken to a shed outside Keyes' home, where he raped and strangled her. Keyes took a photo of Koenig's body to make it appear she was still alive and sent it with a ransom demand. Her family raised the money through community donations, and police kept track as Keyes withdrew the cash at ATMs across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, where he was arrested March 13.

Keyes used Google Earth to show detectives where he'd deposited Koenig's body under the ice of a lake northwest of Anchorage, allowing them to find her. Parts of the gun used to kill the Curriers were recovered from a reservoir at Parishville, N.Y., and a cache containing a shovel and two large bottles of Drano was discovered north of Anchorage.

Keyes was keenly interested in how his crimes played out in public, searching the Web for stories about his Vermont victims before his arrest. Detectives played on that in an effort to keep him talking, giving him copies of articles about his case, and letting him know when a new development was imminent.

Feldis, of the U.S. attorney's office in Alaska, said it was clear that Keyes was motivated to talk not by any wish to help victims' families, but rather to control his own narrative. He told detectives they were wasting their time if they tried to pursue leads without his help.

"There is no one who knows me — or who has ever known me — who knows anything about me, really," Keyes told his questioners in one of the video excerpts released. "They're going to tell you something that does not line up with anything I tell you, because I'm two different people, basically. And the only person who knows about what I'm telling you — the kind of things I'm telling you — is me."
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